COVID19 – Market update 1/4/2020

The start of a new month and we wanted to update you with what we are doing as a business to support our clients, staff, and community through these strange times we find ourselves in.

Supporting Clients

We have been able to continue with all pre-booked meetings, albeit by email, phone or video conference as opposed to face to face. These are working very well, and we would like to thank our clients for adapting so well to this change in communication. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful staff, who have also adapted to rapid changes and are working incredibly hard behind the scenes to make sure that all our client’s needs are met.

We are booking in comfort calls for those clients who are feeling nervous right now and spending time reassessing their financial plans and making adjustments where necessary. This can help people avoid making costly mistakes like encashing or de-risking investments when markets are low.

On top of this, we continue to regularly keep in touch with a wide variety of industry experts, fund managers, economists, and other financial advisers to ensure we have up to date information as to how this pandemic is impacting the markets. You will see later on a snapshot of what some of them are saying about the current climate.

Supporting our Staff

We are supporting our staff by ensuring they are all working from remote locations, often from home. We are also spending time discussing their health and wellbeing and sharing best practices to ensure they stay well, physically and mentally. We can strongly recommend a book by Dr. Rangan Chatterjee called The Four Pillar Plan which simplifies our well being by simply ensuring that we are always concentrating on the four basics: Eat, Move, Relax and Sleep. You might have lots of time on your hands in the next few weeks, give it a read.

As a business we are all still working full time, we are incredibly busy, and we are finding that we are spending a lot of time on hold to providers and taking calls from clients. Please bear with us if it takes us slightly longer than normal to get back to you.

Supporting our Community

We are trying not to ‘pop to the shops’ unless absolutely necessary and are trying our hardest to share online shopping deliveries where we can. We are adding extra to our online shops to donate to local food banks and a recent donation helped a school cook dinner for children of key workers.

We are offering support to older and vulnerable clients so if you feel this is you please get in touch if you think we can help in some way.

We are also incredibly proud of 2 of our staff for putting themselves forward to volunteer to help the NHS. Thank you, Sheree and Jacob, for being one of those selfless people offering to help in our time of need.

Fund Manager Updates

We are spending a lot of time keeping in contact with our different fund managers and investment experts. We are keen to understand how they are working to protect capital and how they are positioning their portfolios for the future. We have spent many hours on conference calls, webinars and have many more scheduled in the upcoming days; here are some insights we have heard so far:

Dividend payments – There will be a decision for many companies over their ability to return cash to shareholders via dividends. To Wednesday 25th March the FTSE 350 Index had seen 24 cuts and 6 postponements. There will be some impact on income flows to portfolios due to this.

Indiscriminate selling – the sharp correction has been one in which shares, and other investment types, have been sold – in many cases – irrespective of underlying fundamentals. This is a theme we’ve heard time and again from managers, many of whom are taking the opportunity to further upgrade the quality of their portfolios.

Value locations – many managers in the UK, Japan, and Asia have been particularly vocal around the value they are now seeing in the market. In Japan, some managers’ portfolios are as cheap as they have ever been on a cash on the balance sheet measure in an economy currently far less affected by the virus, for example. In Asia in general dividend cuts are likely to be much less significant from this point.

What are we doing at Northfield Wealth?

We will continue to take our advice from the experts and the regulators. The human, economic and financial impacts have already been huge, and it is not yet clear how quickly the virus will be brought under control and normal economic activity can resume. We are constantly reviewing the portfolios but have no plans to make knee jerk reactions in an attempt to aim to time the market. There are simply too many unknowns at play. Based on the information we have obtained from industry experts our current advice is to remain invested and stick to your original financial plan and recommendation. We understand that you might be fearful holding tight right now but recent markets have shown us a little positivity and we hope that there will be more to come, but we also might see some volatility as the pandemic progresses. Experience tells us that times like this require cool heads and a focus on what we can control but we do understand how you are feeling and are here to reassure you if you need us.

Please let us know if you would like a comfort call by calling us on 01455 886328 or emailing us at: